On hold: NLE programme delayed until September

Reforms delayed and interim contract awarded with DfE citing Covid

Reforms delayed and interim contract awarded with DfE citing Covid


Reforms to the national leaders of education (NLE) programme have been delayed until next year, the government has confirmed.

The Department for Education had originally launched a tender, worth up to £2.5 million, in October last year to deliver the reforms nationwide.

Under that contract, the ambition was to have at least 450s NLEs trained by the end of September this year, and a further 100 by September 2022.

However, there were no successful bidders and an interim £88,213 training contract was instead awarded to teacher trainers Inspiring Teachers for the autumn and spring terms.

A DfE spokesperson said that “following the impact” of Covid-19 it had “paused” reforms until September 2022. Further details will be released in “due course”, but it remains “committed” to the reforms to make sure it’s “as effective as possible”.

The programme has now been rolled into the new Institute of Teaching, which will be expected to deliver a “development programme” for up to 650 NLEs between 2022 and 2025.

NLE candidates to be assessed against ‘rigorous’ standards

Tender documents show candidates will be “assessed against new, rigorous” standards. The programme is to be delivered over six school terms, comprising at least 45 hours. A contractor has yet to be announced.

NLEs are successful school leaders who work alongside others to support struggling schools.

In February 2020, an advisory group made six recommendations on reforming the role. They wanted government to have a “full-cadre” of newly designated NLEs in place by the start of this academic year.

Their recommendations included allowing “transformative” academy trust chief executive and improvement directors to become NLEs. The role has traditionally been restricted to head teachers of individual schools.

The DfE said it would be “taking forward” recommendations, but did not commit to all of them.

However, a tender document last year suggested that only leaders who achieve high standards “in the context of a knowledge-rich curriculum” could become NLEs.

The DfE did not confirm this week how many NLEs had been trained during the past year, but said all training for NLEs that require it has taken place during the pandemic.

Earlier this month, 60 new national leaders of governance (NLGs) were appointed under reformed government support. Part of the reforms includes paying them £500 a day.

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